The Estonian Folklorists’ 9th Winter Conference
"Folklore and Coherence"

Time: February 26-27, 2014
Venue: Witch’s Country at Uhtjärve primeval valley,

Since 2005, Estonian folklorists have organised annual winter conferences aimed at bringing together Estonian folklorists from different institutions and creating a forum for discussions.

The conference of 2014 takes place under the title “Folklore and Coherence”, and addresses the questions of social and cultural coherence of folklore, as well as mutual relationships between folkloristics and society. We are interested in ways the question of coherence is accessed and interpreted from the more general point of view of the whole societies as well as how it is understood by smaller communities and individuals. Examples from past experiences, as well as current issues in need of solutions, are welcome.

The process of consistency creation entails the identification and evaluation of connections between different phenomena. Thus, the contemporary folkloristics faces the need to embrace both the classical and contemporary folklore, but as the contemporary context is in many ways different from the era when folklore started to be investigated, the (re)interpretations of the research traditions are also needed. For instance, we need to explain to what extent the world views and ritual practices reverberating in historical texts are still meaningful in the world of today, how contemporary texts reflect current world views, and how the connections between the past and the present are revealed or concealed in them. If we regard the continuity of actions, values, methods, observations, principles, preconditions and outputs as the basis for consistency, is it at all possible to view folklore and folkloristics as a synergy that creates consistency and continuity?

A folklorist is supposed to make ethical decisions while conducting interviews in the course of fieldwork, selecting material and interpreting data. Yet, we should ask what role aesthetics plays in making these decisions. Are we relying on aesthetics or ethics while establishing the boundaries of our research topic, deciding how and by what mechanisms to exclude topics, groups or persons? Does this not qualify as a significant interruption of folkloric cohesion?

Therefore, is folklore used to create coherence or to question the seemingly existing one? How susceptible is folkloric heritage to ideologically oriented coherence creation and to what extent does it enable to prevent or refute it? What should we do in order for socio-cultural coherence not to remain just a declarative and rhetorical objective? How can we give it meanings that are related to everyday life of common people? How do significant social events exert impact on the creative processes of folklore?

If we consider folklore as a system of semantic relations that creates coherence, what is its role in changes of ideas and lifestyles? How do the entertaining aspects of folklore relate to this? What is the role of different communication channels in these processes? Have we, by now, reached the stage of creating consistent interpretations that are able to cover a variety of viewpoints on certain aspects - for example the different phenomena of visual folklore or the interpretations given to Estonian holy places and folk religion?

The two-day conference is dedicated to the 60th jubilee of the folklorist Mare Kõiva. Therefore, we especially welcome presentations that connect the aforementioned issues with the jubilarian’s wide range of research topics, including folk medicine, folk astronomy, folk belief, archaeology, Internet, culture of expatriated Estonians and minority groups, and contemporary folklore.

Abstracts of no more than 5000 characters should be sent to Katre Kikas by February 5th. The same date also applies to those who want to participate without a paper.

The conference participation fee is 10 EUR.




   Additional materials   

The Estonian Folklorists’ 9th Winter Conference is organised by the Department of Folkloristics of the Estonian Literary Museum, in cooperation with the Academic Folklore Society and the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore at the University of Tartu.

The homepage of the conference can be found at the address: You will also find the conference programme and abstracts on this page as the conference approaches.

Information: Katre Kikas,; Piret Voolaid,, 7377 742; Kristel Kivari,

Supporters: Cultural Endowment of Estonia (Eesti Kultuurkapital) and A Le Coq.

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